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How abuse by Trinity Valley School and others led to psychiatric slavery

A middle schooler in the mid-nineties, I played (U.S.-style) football as a student at Trinity Valley School in Fort Worth, Texas, while parents sat in the bleachers and watched their young children injure each other. A football field is the perfect training ground for United States culture, filled as the country is with violence everywhere, daily mass shootings, bloodthirsty Hollywood, violence replacing sex in the bedroom, all of it voted for and purchased and excused by nearly everyone with any substantial power. My family was no different, and I presume yours was much the same, although perhaps you come from a healthier environment.

My older brothers were among the top of their football teams at TVS, so it was expected that I play concussionball as well. I haven’t much skill at sports, so they made me a lineman. A friend drew skulls on my forearm pads. With terrible eyesight, I wore big wraparound Rec Specs that would get knocked off my face and jumbled up in my helmet whenever someone slammed into me hard enough, which was often. Since I didn’t know how to rotate my hips at that age, before the snap all the other lineman would squat down, but my rear would be way up in the air as I sort of hunched over oddly. No one bothered to teach me how to rotate my hips until years later; the athletics department put little to no effort into helping kids with things like that, even though body mechanics should be a core component of physical education, and that’s what they were being paid to instruct.

The head coach of my team was Johnny Miller, the guy pictured below, who had a certain football policy. This was that his players should jack opposing players if they weren’t paying attention and were available to be knocked down. Didn’t matter if they didn’t even have the football. Just, if you see an opponent who isn’t looking, then if you can get away with it, charge at him and bash him with your arms and knock him to the grass. Unsportsmanlike conduct to say the least.

Johnny Miller

Something about Miller’s policy of telling players to visit harm on unsuspecting innocents must have excited me back then. With his son in middle school, my father had shot his own head off, so I was full of extreme rage. Plus, there was repeated physical abuse against me in my family (I was punched unconscious at one point), and although I asked for help, no one did anything that stopped the violence. So, Miller’s policy offered a way to pay back what others had been doing to me. That my target wasn’t the perpetrator isn’t something that occurs to an angry 13 year old abandoned by his father.

Only once did I jack an opponent–I don’t remember what team he was on, maybe Greenhill. It was toward the end of the fourth quarter. We were winning, and during this play, most of the players were thirty or forty yards downfield, close to the end zone. By himself, this opponent kid was slowly walking toward the end zone, babysteps kind of, looking down at the grass, maybe sad his team was losing or just bored and daydreaming. I saw my mark.

The deed was swift. I ran some ten yards in front of him. Looking down at the grass, he didn’t see me. I turned to face him, then ran at him full speed. Jacked him with both arms. He went flying back onto the grass. They had to carry him off on a stretcher.

Coach Miller pulled me out of the game–to congratulate me. When I came off the field at his prompting, and neared him, he leaned in close and whispered: “I had to take you out of the game because the parents are watching. But, that’s exactly what I told you to do.”

I never did find out what happened to the boy I jacked as a student of Miller’s policy. Is my victim out there somewhere with a lifelong injury because of what I did to him? Looks like Miller is still coaching at TVS. Has he softened any, changed his policy? Or is he still teaching young boys to visit harm on unsuspecting innocents, training them in the norms, instructing them precisely how to become rich and powerful leaders?

Things didn’t get better for me. The summer between middle school and high school freshman year, the friend who drew the skulls on my forearm pads phoned me to reveal a huge surprise: he wasn’t going to play football in high school! This astonished me. But only a second or two passed before I decided: “I’m not playing either.” I knew there would be serious repercussions for this treason, but I didn’t yet know just how bad.

High school football provided many good reasons not to play, given what was evident to a middle schooler. There were rumors about Camp Cruces, the preseason training camp where you got hazed. There was demanding Coach Norman, who’d yell and scream at you for hours as you stood out in the Texas 100+ degree Fahrenheit sun, sweating, pushing the sleds, and being slammed into. There was the permanent back injury one of my brothers received for playing football, and which he still has, decades later. Looking at all those downsides, it’s hard to see any advantages. And what if you simply wanted to spend your time in other ways? Must that be so unthinkable?

Reasonable as not playing high school football was, it was a ticket straight to ostracism, as Coach Norman dictated. Toward the end of high school, a football player finally confessed it to me: Coach Norman had told all the boys who played football (nearly the entire male population of the grade) not to ever talk to my artist friend or me, as punishment for us not playing. For years, those boys of Trinity Valley School obeyed Norman’s command. And besides, I was just some strange kid with a large bookbag whose father had killed himself. No need to lose status by interacting with me. Not that I was the easiest person to be around back then.

Ostracism takes a toll, and it wasn’t long before I started developing anxiety about going to school, which is completely understandable given how TVS treated me. That’s a long story for another day, but here’s the short version.

The anxiety about school got me sent to the psychiatric system. A loser psychiatrist in Fort Worth named Tom Murphy prescribed me, a teen, an antidepressant, which made me manic, as antidepressants often do. Mania was the green light that let most everyone off the hook for helping me as I spent decades in the psychiatric system, getting tazed by cops and being abused otherwise, because once you’re on these dangerous pharmaceuticals, it’s really difficult to taper off them successfully, and few devote time to helping other people. It’s far easier to individualize social problems, blame the individual, claim he has some lifelong invisible brain disease and unidentified invisible genetic failing, rather than change culture’s norms, which are sociopathic. And anyway, there’s all that violent porn to watch, violent video games to play, violent corporate television to enjoy, violent politicians to vote for, their violent lesser evils to normalize…

So when progressives jump to signal their loyalty to the abusive, powerful psychiatry faction in hopes complicit quacks will depose the abusive, powerful Trumpers, it’s hard to take the progressives seriously. Progressives find Trump jacking innocents distasteful, but progressives will certainly support a Coach Miller/Obama/psychiatrist silverback who inflicts and teaches harm yet puts on a show of being a goody goody. That way, nobody has to change the norms, and those who benefit from the norms can maintain their place in the pecking order.

If you’d like to learn about antipsychiatry, start here or here.

In the meantime, a happy note. This news clip, under three minutes, causes me to cry every time. It’s what sports should be:

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How abuse by Trinity Valley School and others led to psychiatric slavery by Douglas Lucas is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. It does not affect your fair use rights or my moral rights. You can view the full license (the legalese) here; you can view a human-readable summary of it here. To learn more about Creative Commons, read this article. License based on a work at www.douglaslucas.com. Seeking permissions beyond the scope of this license? Email me: dal@riseup.net.